The fields for the two major postseason events were shaping up. The NCAA had 14 of its 23 teams in hand and merely had to wait for the end of some conference races to fill out the roster. Kentucky ( SEC), Davidson (Southern), St. Joseph's (Mid-Atlantic), Cincinnati ( Missouri Valley), Western Kentucky ( Ohio Valley) and Miami of Ohio (Mid-American) all clinched last week to join independents Providence (21-3), Syracuse (19-4), Dayton (21-4), Loyola of Chicago (21-2), Texas Western (22-0), Oklahoma City (23-4), Houston (20-5) and Colorado State (13-7) in the four regional playoffs.
New York's NIT, meanwhile, was busy gathering in some pretty good leftovers for the 14-team tournament which begins March 10 in Madison Square Garden. Defending champion St. John's (18-5) was already in, along with Virginia Tech (19-4), Boston College (18-4), Penn State (17-4), Temple (20-6), DePaul (17-6) and Army (16-6). Possibilities for the remaining eight places: independents Fairfield (17-5), Detroit (17-6), Manhattan (12-7), Georgetown (15-8), NYU (13-9), Villanova (13-10) and the runners-up in the Missouri Valley (Bradley, Wichita State, St. Louis or Louisville), West Coast AC (probably San Francisco) and Western AC (most likely Brigham Young).
1. KENTUCKY (23-0)
2. DUKE (20-3)
3. VANDERBILT (21-3)
The name given to DAVIDSON'S Dick Snyder—"Superhorse"—comes from Bucky Waters, the West Virginia coach. This is Waters' first year as head man at Morgantown and he is already one of the better seers around. In Charlotte last week he took his defending champion Mountaineers to the finals of the Southern Conference tournament and met Superhorse and the sophomores of Davidson. The teams had split during the season, West Virginia coming strong at the end, and Davidson had the deserved reputation of blowing sky-high in these playoffs. But this Davidson team was different. With tall sophomores Rod Knowles and Tom Youngdale ruling the boards and the 6-foot-5 Snyder superhorsing it all over the place, Davidson rode out to a 56-40 lead with 13 minutes left. The Mountaineers rallied to within two points behind Ron Williams' dazzling passing, but Davidson did not fold. The 'Cats scored six straight and won going away 80-69, Snyder getting 27 points. "He puts the gun against your head. Relentless is the word for him," said Waters.
Duke supporters were having second thoughts. The flat Blue Devils were upset by WAKE FOREST in overtime 99-98 before redeeming themselves in a sharp 77-63 win over North Carolina. NORTH CAROLINA STATE looked tough, running away from Furman 130-77 and Wake Forest twice, 101-75 and 125-100. Duke meets Wake Forest and State faces Virginia in the ACC tournament Thursday in Raleigh.
Kentucky (page 20) was finally in the NCAA tournament, so all VANDERBILT could do after a 117-97 win over Georgia was to announce it was retiring Clyde Lee's jersey number—43. WESTERN KENTUCKY looked forward to a rougher road in the NCAA after ripping Eastern Kentucky 72-67 and Murray 71-59 to win the Ohio Valley championship.
1. KANSAS (20-3)
2. LOYOLA OF CHICAGO (21-2)
3. MICHIGAN (15-6)